Thursday, February 18, 2010

Treasure Awaits! Book 1: Basic Play

I have had the opportunity, finally, to look over the PDFs for Ancient Odysseys: Treasure Awaits. I just received my hard copy but have yet to open it. I’ll do this in a day or two and post my impressions of it.

Treasure Awaits is a simple dungeon crawl game that comes in three booklets: Basic Play, The Dungeon, and Further Adventures. I have read Basic Play and Further Adventures but have not read The Dungeon because it is an adventure that can be played solo or run by a GM. I want to play through it to see how well the rules work.

In this post, I will be covering Book 1: Basic Play.

Basic Play covers the rules for character generation, action resolution, combat, magic, potions and character improvement. All in 35 pages. It starts with a couple of pages of explanation about role-playing games then jumps into character generation. There are four races, three classes (here called vocations) and three attributes (abilities). Character generation is semi-random. You choose or roll race and vocation then roll on a table for abilities. There are eight points split between the three attributes so it would be simple to distribute them yourself. You then choose four pursuits from a list which is determined by vocation. Pursuits are this game’s term for skills. You then choose weapons, roll for armor and choose other equipment. If you are a wizard you choose your beginning spells. And it all fits nicely on a half-page character sheet that lists all of the pursuits comfortably.

Then the rules are covered. The basic task resolution is appropriate ability + pursuit + 1d6. The target number is often but not always seven. There are modifiers that can affect the target number. Each turn a character can perform one task in the order determined at the beginning of each turn by comparing a die roll plus modifiers with the other characters. Combat is one of the actions a character can take and is an important one for this type of game. The character rolls his ability + pursuit (a weapon skill) + 1d6 versus the opponent’s ability + pursuit + 3. There are various other actions that can be taken in combat other than attacking, such as block, cast a spell or run away. The game includes a “conflict action map” to allow for simple positioning during battle. It is optional but I think it will be a nifty way to keep track of where your character is while he or she is trying to avoid death at the hands of a vicious monster.

The book concludes with poisons, traps, spells and potions followed by rules for advancement.
This first book is intended to give you the rules needed to play through Book 2: The Dungeon. Although I haven’t played through I think this rule set will work well. At the beginning of the post I called the game simple but on first read it was more complex than I was expecting. Rolling for what amounts to initiative at the beginning of each term by adding the awareness ability to a d6 and trying to beat 7 and the other players to go first is an example of this. Another is combat in which you add up each opponents skill and attribute for each roll seemed excessive to me. But on reexamination I don’t know what I was thinking. It is not complicated at all. Maybe it is a case of reality not meeting expectations. I was expecting something dead simple and something with a little more complexity though still very straightforward and reacted to that.

My next installment will cover Book Three: Further Adventures.


  1. I'm looking forward to your take on the rest of it. Thanks.

  2. good review! looking forward to what you think about book 3 and the dungeon adventure!